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Clemson Mentioned In Connection With SEC

Yesterday afternoon, The Boston Globe’s college football writer, Mark Blaudschun, tossed a new log onto the SEC expansion fire when he wrote the following on his blog:

“But if Missouri leaves — and as of this morning the prevailing theory was that the Tigers were still focused on joining Texas A&M as the 13th and 14th members o the SEC — the Big 12 would make a move to go from 9 to 12 teams with Big East members Louisville and West Virginia as the prime schools on their wish list.  Such a move might also happen even if Missouri remains.

The SEC might have one back up place if Missouri decides to stay.  Word is spreading through the SEC that Clemson may come into play as team No. 14.

The Tigers are more of an SEC fit than ACC fit in many ways.”

An SEC fit?  Absolutely.  As we broke down in our 10-part “Expansion By The Numbers” series, Clemson is athletically, academically, geographically and culturally a fit with the Southeastern Conference.  There’s a reason some call the school “Auburn with a lake.”

But from a business perspective — and that’s what expansion/realignment is all about — Clemson is a poor fit.  They add no television markets that the SEC can’t already claim.  They offer no new recruiting ground, no new population base to reach. 

While Clemson would have been a great choice back in 1992, the reasons for expanding have changed since then.  Clemson doesn’t bring enough to the table in 2011.


Unless the SEC is a) desperate to avoid a 13-team season in 2012 and beyond and/or b) so certain that Texas A&M brings enough new TV eyeballs to the mix that it can afford to take Clemson anyway.

But if that’s the case, the SEC would actually add a few more television households and expand its reach by selecting West Virginia, a school that’s already expressed an interest to Mike Slive’s league.

We have heard nothing solid regarding Clemson from any of our sources within the league.  And it should be noted that Blaudschun — despite saying that “word is spreading through the SEC” — is a Boston-based writer.  Boston College just happens to be in the same division of the ACC with Clemson.  It’s possible the talk he’s hearing is coming from inside that league and not from inside Slive’s league.

There are many possible explanations for why Clemson might be getting some play right now.  Perhaps the SEC is trying to give Missouri a reason to speed up its decision-making process.  Perhaps South Carolina — seeing Clemson skate through an easy ACC — really does want to bring the Tigers into the SEC in order to make them run the same gauntlet USC faces each fall.  (Harris Pastides and Steve Spurrier have both publicly stated that they would have no reservations to Clemson entering the SEC… if you believe them.)

But if expansion/realignment is about television dollars first and foremost, would Clemson add to the SEC’s loot?  Or would it simply be another mouth to feed?  A look at the numbers suggests the latter.

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